As we head into what can only be described as a surprising Stanley Cup Finals series between the New Jersey Devils and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, it is once again time to look at the best and fairest amongst those who were once Rangers.
With the loss of John Vanbiesbrouck and Ray Ferraro to retirement along with the return of Alexei Kovalev to Broadway, this year’s team has a little bit of a different look. Eight new faces grace the 02-03 All Stars, with only a handful of the old guard now remaining.
So without further adieu, here are your 2002-03 Ex-Ranger All Stars.
22-29-51 in 71 games
St Louis Blues
15-52-67 in 69 games
Coyotes / Flyers
20-31-51 in 72 games
|York was perhaps one of the most popular Rangers in his three seasons with the team. Last year’s trade was anything but popular, and York’s continued success has even the New York brass wondering if they may not have made a mistake. |
Despite suffering a broken hand late in the year, Mike continues to play well and is expected to be a long time member of the Ex-Rangers All-Star team in years to come.
York had his second highest goal and point totals this season.
|A perennial All-Star, Weight once again showed why he was one of the premier setup men in the league. The centerman helped lead his Blues past numerous injuries and the loss of several starting goaltenders, to a respectable 8th placed finish overall in the NHL.|
The former Oiler captain was a run away selection this year for the #1 center position, not surprising considering his pedigree.
Weight lead all former Rangers in points this season.
|Amonte’s season started slowly after his off-season signing with the Phoenix Coyotes. The long time Blackhawk couldn’t seem to get his game going on a Coyotes team that struggled through numerous injuries. |
In March, Phoenix finally gave up on their star winger and sent him to Philadelphia, the change was instant. Amonte finished the regular season with 7 goals and 8 assists in just 13 games.
Amonte had an easy time winning the #1 right wing position and completes an All-American first line.
30-29-59 in 75 games
20-40-60 in 77 games
4-4-8 in 12 games
|To say this was a career year for Mike Knuble would be an understatement. But when Sergei Samsonov and Martin Lapointe were lost to injury in the early going, the hard working winger stepped up and made the most of his opportunity.|
Knuble lead all former (and current Rangers) with 30 goals this year and easily surpassed his former career highs of 15 goals and 35 points.
This is Knuble’s first appearance on the team.
|Marchant was another former Ranger to have a career year. His 20 goals was one better than his previous high of 19 back in 95-96 and his 60 points easily eclipsed his 40 point total of 99-00.|
The soon to be UFA centerman did everything the Oilers could of hoped for, building on his defensive prowess with a stellar offensive season. But like so many before him, his days with the Oilers may be numbered.
Marchant may also have the dubious distinction of ending Mike Richter’s career. A seemingly harmless collision with Marchant’s knee caused what may be the final injury of Richter’s career.
|Dvorak struggled to come back from a serious knee injury that forced him to miss camp and most of the preseason. He never made it back to his 00-01 form and was finally traded in March.|
Free from the pressures of Broadway, Dvorak seemed to relax a little and managed to regain some of his form in Edmonton. It’s too soon to tell whether the young winger will be able to return to his goal scoring ways, but his selection on this team shows that there are still some out there who haven’t given up on him.
San Jose Sharks
9-9-18 in 81 games
Flames / Thrashers
17-33-50 in 67 games
17-20-37 in 63 games
|Adam Graves’ third consecutive selection to the Ex-Rangers All-Stars is more a tribute to what he did in the past than his performance this year.|
It’s fair to say that Graves’ production has dropped off significantly in the past three seasons, and one wonders how much longer he’ll be in the league.
An unrestricted free agent this summer, Graves will likely have the opportunity to find his way again with another team.
|Another contract dispute early in the season finally got Savard what he wanted, a ticket out of Calgary. The young centerman was coming off of an injury plagued season in 01-02 and never really seem to get it going this year.|
His move to Atlanta though sparked a renaissance in his game. His 47 points in 57 games quickly salvaged a season on the rocks and was a factor in the Thrashers late season form.
|The power play specialist continued his comeback from European exile with the Dallas Stars. After reportedly turning down an offer to play in New York because of his wife’s fears of terrorism. |
Dahlen settled in nicely with Dallas getting almost half of his 17 goals with the man advantage.
20-17-37 in 56 games
6-13-19 in 52 games
Sharks / Canadiens
7-19-26 in 80 games
|Johansson’s departure from New York last summer wasn’t exactly amicable. Johansson accused Ranger GM of being penny wise and pound foolish in his attempts to resign the Swedish winger.|
As if to emphasize his point, Johansson got off to a red hot start with the Predators, before a late season injury cut short his chance to really rub it in.
Johansson’s 20 goals was only the second time that he had reached the mark in his career and his 37 points matched a career high.
|Murray’s stay with New York was not a long one. Yet Murray took the trade that sent him to Nashville in his stride and made the most of the situation.|
A defensive forward, Murray added 6 goals to the 6 already had in New York and helped strengthen a young and inexperienced forward corps.
His selection to the team is a testament to the respect that Ranger fans have for his ability.
|Sundstrom was one of many Sharks who struggled through a tough season. His eventual trade to the Montreal Canadiens got him his first goal of the season, but after the initial improvement he once again returned to his pre-trade form.|
Sundstrom will need to improve next season if he hopes to return to the team. His defensive ability needs to be supported by some scoring or he’ll find himself on the outer with the likes of Luc Robitaille.
* Appeared as a reserve
First Defensive Pair
11-43-54 in 81 games
Kings / Red Wings
16-33-49 in 77 games
|There are few offensive defensemen in the league that are more consistent than Zubov. The Russian blueliner once again cashed in on the power play, registering 8 of his 11 goals on the man advantage and lead all former (and current) Ranger defensemen in scoring.|
Zubov’s third straight selection to the Ex-Ranger All-Stars in some ways demonstrates the continuing dissatisfaction with the trade that sent he and Petr Nedved to Pittsburgh for Samuelsson and Robitaille.
With no evidence of his game slowing down, Zubov is expected to continue where he left off next year.
|Schneider once again turned in a solid year offensively, and despite being traded to the Red Wings at the trade deadline, continues to be one of the more underrated blueliners in the league.|
Although the Kings struggled through numerous injuries, Schneider proved one of the most reliable on the team and got off to a solid start. His 10 power play goals tied Andreas Johansson for the most by a former (or current) Ranger this season and he was second overall in scoring for ex-ranger defensemen.
Second Defensive Pair
10-29-39 in 81 games
0-6-6 in 81 games
|2002-03 saw Johnsson’s numbers drop off a little from his break out year the previous season. Some of this can be attributed to the addition of Ken Hitchcock, and the increased focus on defense.|
His +7 rating with the Flyers was the sixth highest amongst former Rangers this year, while his 39 points was third to Zubov and Schneider.
Johnsson has become a dependable offensively minded defenseman and has easily outshone the two highly touted players who were traded with him to Philadelphia.
|The Kings captain had a tough year, as did the Kings as a whole. With Allison and Deadmarsh injured for much of the season, the offense was hard pressed to put the puck in the net and the responsibility fell back to Norstrom in particular to hold the line in their own zone.|
The Swedish defenseman’s numbers were not particularly impressive this year, but his -1 plus/minus rating proves how effective he was in his own zone.
Third Defensive Pair
10-28-38 in 80 games
1-5-6 in 49 games
|For some, Berard’s selection to the team will come as a surprise. But the Bruins surprisingly strong start to the season included the strong offensive play by the former Ranger defenseman.|
Berard’s total of 10 goals during the regular season was the second highest of his career, and a marked improvement over his comeback year where he registered just 2 goals while playing for the Rangers.
Although his game tailed off towards the end of the season and his defense was still found wanting, Berard’s return from a serious eye injury and offensive success continues to be one of the positive stories in the league.
|An early operation put paid to any thought that Miller would be able to build on his breakout year of 2001-02. Miller missed the first thirty or so games and had to take his time getting back into the swing of things during a time the rest of his team wasn’t playing well.|
Rumors at the deadline had Miller moving on to another team, but a last minute deal will keep the American born defenseman in Los Angeles for years to come and was the ultimate reason that Mathieu Schneider was moved to Detroit.
33-16-7 in 57 games 2.42 GAA .908 S%
4-13-1 in 21 games 3.56 GAA .893 S%
|Career highs in goals against average and save percentage as well as wins, seemingly marked the season that many Cloutier fans have been waiting for.|
The feisty goaltender, who got into a battle with one of his own players during a practice, helped lead the Canucks to the top half of the standings in the Western Conference, but along with the rest of the team, he stumbled in the last game allowing the Colorado Avalanche to pass them on the final day of the regular season.
Cloutier continues to be an enigmatic goaltender, but his performance this year has gone a long way to showing that he may indeed be ready to become a reliable starting goaltender in the NHL.
|Last season Hnilicka had a surprisingly effective year behind one of the worst defenses in the league. This season that defense caught up with him and held him winless in his first eleven appearances of the season.|
The slow start and that of the Thrashers, ultimately cost him a position in the NHL along with coach Curt Fraser’s job. To his credit Hnilicka battled back and managed to get wins over the likes of Colorado and Anaheim later in the season.
Toronto Maple Leafs
15-14-29 in 79 games
12-21-33 in 54 games
2-3-5 in 11 games